One local man is really living out his dreams after being called up to replace his musical hero.
Guitarist Richie Malone from Firhouse was drafted in to take over from his idol Rick Parfitt on Status Quo’s farewell tour.
68-year-old Quo legend Parfitt announced last month that he was leaving the band after suffering a massive heart attack in June that left him dead for several minutes.
Rick had previously pulled out of Status Quo’s current tour, Last Night of the Electrics, in September on doctor’s orders.
In their hour of need Status Quo turned to Richie who would be well known in local musical circles as the dynamic frontman of band RAID.
Speaking following Quo’s gig in the 3Arena this month, where he was introduced to the crowd by Quo front man Francis Rossi, Malone said the whole experience has been amazing.
“It’s been crazy. They were the main reason I got into playing guitar in the first place so to think I’m up on stage with them is just unbelievable.”
Richie first saw Quo live in Belfast in 1999 along with his dad and was blown away by their energy.
He also said Rick Parfitt inspired him to first pick up a guitar as a youngster and over the years he built up a friendship with the 68-year-old rocker.
He even travelled to the UK to commission a guitar exactly like Rick’s.Of his hero he said:
“Rick was just everything I admired – his stage presence, his guitar playing, even his hair.
“I had long curly blond hair myself for a while but now it’s short which is better, since I don’t want to try to imitate him.”
And it would appear Richie has also got the thumbs up from his idol.
Speaking in the latest Classic Rock Magazine, Rick Parfitt said the new man has done well. He said:
“He’s a f***ing good little player and it must be all of his dreams come true.”
The current tour runs until the end of the year and even though Richie’s time with the band will be short it promises to be unforgettable.